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On eve of hush money trial, big, bold Donald Trump shows he’s nothing but a giant chicken

For a guy who fancies himself a tough alpha male – brimming with “I’m right and you’re wrong!” bluster like the cock of the walk – Donald Trump is, in reality, a giant chicken.

Trump’s first criminal trial is set to start Monday in New York City. If you struggle to keep track of the man’s multitudinous indictments, this is the one involving Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star he’s accused of paying off in advance of the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about their alleged affair.

He has referred to Daniels as “Horseface” and written on social media, “She knows nothing about me, a total con!” Last year, he referred to the case as “the Stormy ‘horseface’ Daniels extortion plot.”

Trump has claimed – over and over and over again – that the case is part of a vast left-wing conspiracy against him, a “Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement” and “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”

Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after arriving in Atlanta for a campaign fundraising event on April 10, 2024. His criminal hush money trial in New York City is scheduled to begin April 15.

On eve of first criminal trial, Trump is all talk – as usual

In a statement in March 2023, Trump name-checked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and boasted: “So our Movement, and our Party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden.”

You’d think an abundantly confident macho man like Trump would be chomping at the bit to get into a courtroom with his lawyers and prove the “Thugs and Radical Left Monsters” wrong, to pull back the curtain on this unjust persecution/prosecution, to shove the evidence of his angelic innocence right in their smug faces.

You’d think. But Trump has been doing the opposite, trying everything possible to delay the trial. His lawyers filed three futile appeals just this week, all of which were shot down.

He’s grousing that he can’t get a fair trial in Manhattan, that the judge slapped him with an unconstitutional gag order and that the judge has a conflict of interest because his daughter is a Democratic political consultant.

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At this rate I expect he’ll show up to court Monday in a WHAAAAAAAAmbulance then get carried in on a stretcher, moaning about how the deep state gave him typhoid fever.

Donald Trump claims to be tough, but his fear of the Stormy Daniels trial says otherwise

These are not the actions of a bold, confident man who knows he’s innocent and will fight to prove the naysayers wrong.

That’s probably because Trump is not a bold, confident man who knows he’s innocent, and he doesn’t know how to “fight.” He just slings mud and runs away hollering: “I have never slung any mud! That is FAKE NEWS!”

Republicans hate themselves: Nobody hates the GOP as much as Republicans hate the GOP. Just ask Marjorie Taylor Greene.

As with every self-assigned description of Trump – a “great” president, a “brilliant” businessman, a “tough” guy – it’s all a mirage. It’s ineptitude, lunkheadedness and cowardice cloaked by flimsy branding.

Trump as a fighter? LOL! The man never fights, he just runs away.

Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

When he lost the 2020 presidential election, his narcissism wouldn’t allow him to accept the results. So it became Vice President Mike Pence’s fault. It became a “rigged election.” And did Trump himself march into the halls of Congress to stop the transfer of power, bravely buoyed by facts he believed were in his favor?

Nope. He dispatched the most gullible of his supporters, let them mob the U.S. Capitol and let them get locked up. If he loses again in November, he’ll do the same thing – talk a good fight, then send in the rubes.

When the trial starts Monday, Trump will finally face accountability

On Monday, barring a legal miracle, the man who thinks so highly of himself that he autographs Bibles will step into a courtroom and become the first former U.S. president to face a jury of his peers in a criminal trial.

He is terrified of that moment. The narcissism at his core has never met accountability.  If he had a lick of confidence, he wouldn’t be paying attorneys – probably with GOP donor money, not his own – to pull every whack-a-doodle legal trick they can muster to delay, delay, delay.

He wouldn’t be spending hours online and at rallies griping and whining and woe-is-me-ing.

He’d be ready, self-assured and eager to clear his name. He’d be tough.

He’s not.

Trump is a chicken. A frightened, clucking chicken who, as of Monday, will have no room left to run.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter, @RexHuppke and Facebook facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump, a frightened, clucking chicken, fails to delay hush money trial